Jon and I are both safely home again. The trips were more than a little eventful for both of us, thanks to the snow that took over the East Coast after Christmas. His flight on Monday was cancelled and eventually he was put on a Thursday flight, which obviously didn’t work as he was supposed to be back to work on Tuesday. Eventually he managed to get on a bus that would get him to Cleveland. A 17 hour bus ride to be exact. I might be exaggerating just a tiny bit when I say he was thrilled. This was supposed to put him into Cleveland about 1030pm Tuesday night…. My flight from California was to get in at 8pm. He was my ride home to the apartment…
I ended up taking a United/Continental joint flight back to Cleveland. I would recommend avoiding doing this if you are flying through San Fran, for anyone wondering. When I checked into my flight the United desk guy was super helpful, but couldn’t print my boarding pass for the second half of my trip – the Continental part. Instead of the second boarding pass I received a long list of instructions for once I got to San Fran. I assumed that these were just to tell me how to get Continental to give me my boarding pass. I was wrong – but I wouldn’t find that out until later. Mr. United guy suggested that since I had time anyway, I should just avoid the hassle of getting the boarding pass later and go down to the Continental section of the airport and check in now. I did even though it was in the next terminal over. But could I just use the little kiosk and do it myself? Of course not. I had to wait for a representative who took 10 minutes to figure out the flight, check me in, and print the boarding pass even though I told her who I was and the flight.
Overall, I got to San Fran no problem. But being my first time in that airport I immediately went to check that the boarding gate on my ticket was still right. It was about then that I began to suspect this wouldn’t be as easy as flying usually is for me. My flight was one of about 6 on the board that didn’t have a gate listed. So I look around. I’m looking for gate 30-something. I was standing in the 70s. I had 80 and up and the international terminal to my left. And terminal 1 and 2 and I assumed everything else to my right. I wonder for a bit and finally cave and ask for help because at this point I have an hour until I’m supposed to take off and my gate still isn’t listed on any screens.
I was then informed that my flight isn’t listed because I’m in the wrong terminal. I would have to go up an escalator out to a train/shuttle thing and then back through security in the other terminal (at this point I still couldn’t tell you what terminal I was in, where I was headed, or even how many terminals there are at the airport, or what kind of idiot airport designer doesn’t make the terminals connect somewhere after security so that people can connect to their flights).
Thankfully I remembered my list of instructions from Mr. United at this point. They didn’t really make total sense but they indicated I head to the international terminal at look for something around gate 92. So despite feeling like I was being led on a scavenger hunt, I hoped that doing this would allow me to bypass going through security again. I was right! 🙂
The United people totally redeemed themselves in my book for that one. I got to go under the airport in a little shuttle bus. They have this elaborate conveyor belt system running under there as well as little lanes that seem more like concrete tubes that give off this vibe that’s a combination factory and hamster cage. But I got to feel super badass by going through several employees only hallways and up into the new terminal.
Of course Continental had to go and ruin my goodwill by changing my gate several times (to gates right next to each other at least) and by taking off a half hour late. I was still doing better than the flight to Houston that was at the gate they kept trying to switch my flight to though. They were supposed to take off before us, and when I left they had been informed that they wouldn’t board for another hour and a half. Ick.
I got to Cleveland and just wanted to stop and get food before collecting my bags and settling in to wait for Jon. But thanks to my fabulous luck…. All of the food places were closed. Of course it was almost 9pm but really, shouldn’t Burger King or even Mc Donald’s be open later than that? So that is how I ended up with a snack food dinner. That and hanging out in the baggage claim area for 3 hours waiting for Jon’s bus to get in trying to not look shady to the security people.
Jon gets the win for worst day of travel for his attempted plane/bus/car ride back, but I’m trying to talk him into writing that story up because he tells it better than I do.